The Canadian Small Business Report from CFIB Shows a Skills Shortage affecting growth of SMBs.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. Since we are doing a feature on Small Business  and Entrepreneurship this month, it would be helpful to hear what the CFIB has to say on the state of Small Business in Canada and how this in formation can help your business grow.

Skills Shortage is the most significant factor affecting growth.

When the CFIB asked their members about what is the  most significant constraints on their businesses’ growth, more than 40 per cent of small and mid-sized employers cite a shortage of qualified employees. In the first quarter of 2019 the CFIB Help Wanted Index was 3.3%. and the second QTR saw 3.2 per cent  In total, 429,000 private sector jobs—23,000 more than in the second quarter of 2018—went unfilled for at least four months in the second quarter of 2019. In about two-thirds of cases, owners say they can’t find people with the right skills, versus one-third of employers looking for people with low- to mid-level capabilities. 

Job vacancies by province : Quebec and British Columbia were tied for the tightest labour markets, with 3.9 per cent vacancy rates. Ontario’s vacancy rate dropped but remained above the national average at 3.2 per cent. New Brunswick (3.1 per cent), Manitoba (2.6 per cent), Prince Edward Island (2.2 per cent) and Newfoundland & Labrador (2.0 per cent) saw their vacancy rates rise, but remained below the national average. Nova Scotia’s vacancy rate remained stable at 2.3 per cent, while rates in Saskatchewan (2.1 per cent) and Alberta (1.9 per cent) dropped.

Job vacancies by industry: The personal services industry maintained the highest vacancy rate at 4.9 per cent, followed by construction (4.8 per cent). Hospitality (3.7 per cent), agriculture (3.4 per cent), transportation (3.4 per cent), enterprise management (3.4 per cent), professional services (3.4 per cent) and health services (3.4 per cent) also trended above the national average. The information sector had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.1 per cent.

Business Confidence shows an Optimistic Outlook but Cautious

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest monthly Business Barometer was released on September 26, 2019  and it was reported that confidence continued its yo-yo pattern of the past year, dropping 1.3 index points to 59.3 out of 100.  An index level nearer to 65 indicates that the economy is growing at its potential. 

Quebec maintained the top spot in the country at 68.8 index points, followed by Nova Scotia (68.5) and New Brunswick (63.7). Prince Edward Island experienced the biggest drop (-3.8), but remained above the national average at 62.9 index points. Manitoba (62.6) and Ontario (60.5) did not register much movement this month, but also posted results above the national average. Alberta (54.1), Saskatchewan (53.1), British Columbia (53.1) and Newfoundland and Labrador (52.6) had the lowest confidence levels in the country.

The transportation industry fell 5.3 index points to 50.0, replacing agriculture (51.2) as the least optimistic sector. Retail (55.3) and construction (55.9) also lagged behind the national average. Professional services (72.3) and health services (68.9) posted major gains and outpaced all other sectors in optimism levels, followed by information (66.0). Other sectors tended to be clustered within a few points of the national average.

Emerging Entrepreneurial Hotspots in Canada

The Top ranking cities for 2018 according to the CFIB include Whitehorse, Winkler, Man., and Grande Prairie, Alta. Further east, Victoriaville, Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup — in Quebec  and Collingwood, Ont., also ranked high. Large urban areas tend to finish farther down the list, but the best in that group include Kelowna, B.C., Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, Que., and the periphery of communities around Montreal.

Mega cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver tend to do well on high levels of self employment, but quite poorly on local tax environments, which reinforces the impression that suburban peripheries are more hospitable places for start-up ventures because they offer the advantages of large markets, but at considerably lower business costs.tures because they offer the advantages of large markets, but at considerably lower business costs.